Berlinale: Programme

Film file


Loktak Lairembee

Lady of the Lake

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The flames reach high into the sky when the fishermen's huts burn on Loktak Lake, a rural paradise in northeastern India where extreme beauty meets extreme violence. In Manipur, it's about survival of the fittest. The fishermen have no security, just like the shaky foundations of the floating islands of biomass to which they owe their livelihoods. One day, Tomba comes across a pistol wrapped in plastic as he’s laying traps, changing his mood from one of lethargy to one of vague belligerence. His wife is worried. Yet their daily struggle for survival has made the couple grow apart and Tomba begins to drift away. He feels even more threatened when he encounters a mysterious woman in a boat. But is the danger real or mere psychosis? Just another way of distracting himself from the unbearable nature of the everyday?
Haobam Paban Kumar made a name for himself with documentaries about Manipur. In his feature debut, which was shot exclusively with non-professional actors from the region, he expands his cinematic exploration of the land of his home into the story of one dramatic, individual fate, where mythology and political struggle merge into an ethnographic thriller.

Haobam Paban Kumar

India 2016


71’ · Colour


Ningthoujam Sanatomba (Tomba)
Sagolsam Thambalsang (Tharoshang)


Haobam Paban Kumar
Sudhir Naoroibam, Haobam Paban Kumar, based on the short story “Nongmei” by Sudhir Naoroibam
Shehnad Jalal
Sound Design
Sukanta Majumdar
Sukanta Majumdar
Haobam Paban Kumar, Thiyam Romola Devi, Warepam Jhansirani


Haobam Paban Kumar

Born in 1976 in Imphal, India. He studied Directing and Screenwriting at the Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute in Kolkata. Since then, he has worked as a screenwriter, director, and producer.


2003 Punshi (Life); 3 min. 2004 Malem (Mother Earth); 6 min. 2005 They… Me… Them; 20 min. · AFSPA, 1958; 77 min. 2006 A Cry in the Dark; 52 min. · Ngaihak Lambida (Along the Way); 19 min. 2008 The First Leap; 25 min. 2009 Mr. India; 47 min. 2010 Nupishabi (Women Impersonator); 52 min. 2011 Along the Way; 5 episodes, 22 min. each 2012 Ruptured Spring; 17 min. 2014 Phum Shang (Floating Life); 52 min. 2016 Loktak Lairembee (Lady of the Lake)

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2017

Produced by

Oli Pictures

World Sales

Oli Pictures